Advocate for Your Best Rate!

In my years as an insurance advisor I’ve seen it all when it comes to medical challenges and getting the approval from an underwriter.  Some clients come to me having been declined or after having to pay an additional premium (a substandard rating) on their insurance policies to get help.  Removing a substandard rating can be very difficult and terribly inconvenient – redoing the medical tests, completing more forms and then waiting…and waiting.

A few years ago I worked with a client that needed some personal life insurance.  He told me the story about how a year prior he was declined insurance with his previous advisor.  He was declined because of an abnormality on some medical tests.  Confident that he was healthy and that being confirmed by his family doctor, he wondered if something was done incorrectly or if his medical test results were somehow erroneous.  A decline is like a bankruptcy, it’s a major strike on you insurance record (aka. Medical Information Bureau), and will make any insurer back away from offering coverage.

The client was referred to me thorough his accountant a year later with a strong recommendation to own life insurance for a number of reasons.  I knew that the previous decline will be a major challenge to getting coverage at a reasonable price.  However, I have spent much of my time in this industry developing relationships with underwriters, understanding how they make decisions and building trust so they are willing to take another look or go the extra mile when an application has challenges to overcome.  If my client was healthy, there shouldn’t be a reason for him to not have the coverage, so I completed an application and prepared a lengthy cover letter personally addressed to the underwriter.  This letter disclosed in detail the reason for the insurance, the client’s medical history, and challenges with the decline a year ago.  I tracked the process of underwriting to ensure that the nurse who completes the tests was professional, the lab results were forwarded to the underwriter in a timely manner, and that a decision from the underwriter wasn’t premature.  We ended up getting the policy approved with a standard rate!!  Because we put the effort to earn the business up front the client was happy and now confident that we will serve him properly as the years go by,.

Why do I tell this story? Too often I see people go with the “cheapest” quote, and not considering what type of service that you will get from that salesperson.  It’s important to deal with your advisor personally, to understand that they will advocate on your behalf if there are challenges with getting an approval.  Also, this is the person that your family will have to deal with to make a claim during a time of bereavement and difficulty.  Get to know the advisor, and ask yourself if this person will put in the effort when it really counts, not just on showing you a cheap quote.

I’ve also encountered insurance salespeople who provide quotes that undercut their competitors by illustrating a “preferred” insurance rate.  The client decides to go with them because the price is lower, only to find out later that they don’t qualify for “preferred” rates.  We make it a practice to illustrate “standard” rates but advocate on your behalf to get “preferred” rates when it’s realistically within reach.  This is what we call “under-promising and over-delivering”, setting expectations and “one-upping” them when possible. Unfortunately there are times when we have to fight to keep a policy from getting a substandard rate, but medical history and the medical test results are against us.  It’s our job to help facilitate the removal of the rating as soon as possible, or try and shop it out to numerous insurance companies to get them competing.  This requires an independent advisor.

The Bottom Line:

Make sure you know and trust your insurance advisor.

  • Will he/she EARN your business up front and year after year?
  • Do you have a comfort level that this person will be there for your family if there is a claim, being professional and sensitive?
  • Can they show you multiple quotes and give good reason for not using the least expensive?

By Jonathan at and


*This article is for information purposes only and is not intended as specific advice for any individual.  Please review your policy contract for complete details of your existing coverage and speak with a licensed professional if you have any questions or concerns.

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